Monday, January 07, 2008

The Rink

I've done some cool things in my life. Played baseball for the Red Sox. Won thousands in Vegas. Had menage a trios with Charlize and Fergie. OK, so I've dreamt about some cool things, but one cool thing I've always dreamt of was having a backyard hockey rink.

My dream is now a reality.

Two winters ago I was sitting in my living room in the dead of winter with my then 2 1/2 year old and 8 month old boys, bored out of my mind. It was too cold to go out to play and we had already exhausted our library of DVD's. To avoid this kind of boredom in winters to come I came up with the perfect solution, a backyard hockey rink. The following winter I started looking into how I would get one started. The problem. It was 70 degrees on January 26th and the chances of making a usable rink and getting enough use for the effort was negligible. I scrapped plans until this year.

Starting in October this year I fired up my search engines and started researching backyard rinks. My first inclination was to buy a kit. There are a variety of kits out there, but most of the online feedback I read was negative. It wasn't cold enough, the ground was uneven, the liner ripped, nothing but problems.

The next option was to build my own rink by going to Home Depot, buying plastic sheets, wood, lights, etc...and building a rink from scratch. Most people's experiences doing it this way were much better, but you still have to deal with mother nature, uneven terrain and equipment failure.

The last option was to wait until the ground was frozen,rock hard and start sprinkling water in an area of the yard until you have a skatable area. This option was the cheapest, but could only work in sub freezing temperatures and lots of man hours.

I did a combination.

After a big snow in mid December I sno-blowed an area 65 feet by 25 feet right down to the grass. I then flooded the area, so all the low spots were filled with ice. After a few days and nights of filling in the low spots I put down plastic, molded it to the snow banks surrounding the snow-blowed area and filled the rink with water. Within three days we were skating.

Temperatures are expected to be above normal during the next week here in New England, but we just got a straight week of skating. We were out on the ice an hour at a time two times per day. On Wednesday my father-in-law (who happens to live next door) brought up a couple of hockey nets he hasn't used in over thirty years. I put one on each end of the rink and we now have our own hockey arena. To my suprise they could still take a slapshot without the net breaking. I put out a flood light so we could skate at night.My four year old son Matt and I were out playing hockey under the stars this past Thursday night at 7 PM. The temperature, -2 degrees fahrenheit. Its easy to play in such cold when the warmth of your house is only steps away.

This rink has been a dream come true and has surpassed any and all expectations. Now if I could only figure out that menage...


Mushy said...

How cool is that!

Anali said...

That rink is so cool! I used to love to ice skate when I was a kid. There was a pond near where I lived that all the kids skated on. But to have it right in your yard!! Wow! And Matt is adorable! : )

Andraste said...

WISH my yard was big enough for a rink.

You, sir, are a hero.

My too-long-unused skates salute you!

Suldog said...

That is magnificent, Cuz! It makes me want to strap on the skates right now and come join you.